Rise Of International Online Operators in Sweden’s Gambling Market



Staff member
May 3, 2008
Sweden’s proposal to reform its gambling market is having its own set of effects and this is showing clearly in the turnover the market has recorded in the first
quarter of 2017. Figures released by Sweden’s gaming regulator, Lotteriinspktionen, for this period have shown a flattened spending in the gambling market.

The overall turnover of the gambling market in Sweden for 1st January to 31st March 2017 was SEK5.4 billion or US $ 617.2 million.
This is only 0.2% higher than the turnover for the same period in 2016.

Two critical factors that comprise the major components when it comes to gambling operators in the country have
contributed to the flat spending; the locally licensed operators and their competitors, the internationally licensed operators.

Internationally licensed operators showed gains during the first quarter of 2017, but this was offset by declines reported by the locally licensed operators.
There was a 13% rise in turnover year-on-year to SEK1.25 billion for the international operators as against a 3% fall to SEK 4.2 billion reported by the local operators.

While 3% was the overall decline in local turnover, the numbers were far higher at 5%.

A drop of SEK 2.16 billion compared to the same period last year at Svenska Spel, which is the state-owned monopoly operator.
The biggest hit it took was in its land-based operations, which suffered a whopping 9% decline year-on-year.
Online gambling showed a marginal improvement with a 6% upturn.

The trajectory was the same at the ATG horserace betting monopoly, an overall flat trajectory that was the result of a 10% rise to SEK 536 million
for online gambling that was offset by a 10% decline to SEK417 million for land-based operations.

Things were slightly different for the lottery operators. The revenues showed a marginal upswing of 3%, to 623 million, for Postcode Lottery.
While its online sales showed a 22% improvement over the same period last year, the actual numbers for total online sales was a dismal SEK 11 million.
However, it fared much better than People Games, which showed an overall drop of 10% in total sales year-on-year.

The upsurge shown in the numbers for the internationally licensed operators hinges on a key factor:

A move by Sweden to bring about reforms in its gambling market. The said reforms, if pushed through, would allow international operators to apply for and operate with local licenses.
While a sore point has been the 18% tax on gross gaming revenue recommended by a panel of experts commissioned by the Swedish government, the overall response from international
operators has been quite positive with a number of them showing their interest in applying for local licenses.

The proposed reforms will be a mixed bag for local operators. On the one hand it will mean the online monopoly that Svenska Spel has enjoyed since its formation would end.
However, the good news is that international operators would not get access to the land-based casino and slot machine market in the country. The reason for this may not be solely
a desire to retain government supremacy in this market; it is more likely driven by the goal of possibly privatizing Svenska Spel and getting the highest price in doing so.
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